Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

Image courtesy of Sipsco

There many kinds of structural insulated panel systems, mostly using oriented strand board (OSB) onto which the finished surfaces can be attached. The insulating core is typically EPS or polyurethane foam, but SIP's manufactured with MEPS is preffereable because the process does not emit ozone-depleting gas. The advantages of these systems are that they are air tight, well insulating (dependng on the type and thickness of the insulation) and easy to install. Also the panels can be used as insulated roof components. It is estimated that a SIP building might use 30% less wood than a conventionally framed one.

Image courtesy of Ecopan Corporation

One disadvantage of these wood-clad panels is that they don't provide any thermal mass as part of their composition. While SIPs with EPS cores will burn, it has been demonstrated that they remain structurally sound for a lenthy period during a fire and do not emit fumes any more hazardous than those of wood products. Another possible concern is with insects or rodents nesting in the insulation since this can be an ideal habitat for them. One last concern is that a well-constructed SIP structure is practically hermetically sealed, which means that the walls are not breathable; for this reason they require some sort of mechanical ventilation system for healthful habitation.

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Modern Santa Fe
Dennis Nelson, Architect

This approximately 2430 square foot modern santa fe style home home could function as passive solar heated in two different orientations (front or rear elevations could face south). It has two bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, and features a lofted living room as well as a family room. It is designed to be built with structural insulated panels (SIP's).

For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.

Below are listed links to manufacturers of SIP's:

agriboard OSB/wheat or rice straw
r-control.com OSB/EPS
plastifab.com OSB/EPS
winterpanel.com OSB/EPS
foamlaminates.com OSB/EPS
sipstech.com OSB/EPS
murus.com OSB/EPS or PUR
southernsips.com OSB/EPS and steel/EPS
energysips.com OSB/soy-based foam/wood studs
kokoonhomes.com makes light-gauge steel/OSB/soy foam custom panels
fischersips.com OSB/EPS custom fabricated SIPs.
elfiwallsystem.com offers steel/EPS panels.
permatherm.net EPS with galvanized or stainless steel
singcore.com makes very lightweight panels for doors, etc. with a honey comb pattern.
raycore.com with high density, closed cell polyurethane foam insulation

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I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks LLC.